A partnership between Coldplay, Global Citizen, Re:wild and the government of Brazil’s Pará results in a new protected area and a galvanized public
By Rodrigo Medeiros on May 04, 2023
There’s a certain magic that has taken over my home country of Brazil in recent months, and it is the combination of a deep pride in our incredible Amazon rainforest and hope for the future of our planet under new leadership, all to the soundtrack of an international ally: the British rock band Coldplay.
I was fortune enough to attend two of Coldplay’s 11-concert series in Brazil this spring, one in São Paulo and one in Rio de Janeiro (their tour also included Curitiba). They know how to deliver a unique experience and I don’t know a single person who was not impressed with their shows. But their tour was even more meaningful to me, Re:wild’s Brazilian partners, and anyone who cares about the future of life on the planet.
Not only did the band aim to be sustainable and plant a tree for every ticket sold, at each venue they created space for local organizations to interact with the public. This includes Re:wild and our local partners, Rede Brasileira Pro Unidades de Conservação (Rede Pro UC) and Menos 1 Lixo, who had the rare chance to talk to thousands of concertgoers about the Amazon and what they can do to help safeguard it.
Our relationship with Coldplay started in 2021, when we partnered with Global Citizen to encourage Brazil’s governors of Amazon states to commit to creating new protected areas. Coldplay joined that campaign and became an ambassador to actively promote in, calling on the governors to publicly commit. This was a particularly sensitive moment for Brazil, a time when protected areas were under threat. And a number of governors made commitments, including the first governor to speak out and make this commitment publicly—Helder Barbalho, the governor of Pará.
Barbalho kept to his word and soon after the announcement of the commitment at Global Citizen’s festival in New York in September, Barbalho announced the creation of a protected area, the Refugio de Vida Silvestre de São Benedito. The state of Pará had experienced the highest rates of deforestation in the Amazon over the last decade as the result of the expansion of the agricultural frontier (cattle and cattle feed), despite its location in one of the most biodiverse regions of the Amazon.
This was the only new protected area created during the four years that the former presidential administration was in power, underscoring the extent of the challenge and also the impact of this campaign.
Fast-forward to March and Barbalho and his family attended a Coldplay show in São Paulo at the invitation of the band to thank him for his efforts to protect the Amazon. You can imagine how much criticism he faced during the last administration for creating this protected area.
Our work together doesn’t end here. Recently we have been able to meet with the governor, who made new commitments for the Brazilian Amazon’s southern region in the coming months, including the creation of an outpost to curb deforestation and the expansion and strengthening of a network of protected areas. We are working with our local partners to ensure the safeguarding of a large corridor of protected areas in the region, which will secure 16 million acres of Amazon Forest, with Barbalho as a leader in these critical efforts. Barbalho is also preparing to host the 30th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC in Pará in 2025.
All of these efforts—with Global Citizen, Coldplay, Barbalho and our local partners—means hope for the Amazon and for the people who live there and for the planet. They also underscore how the combination of culture, music and conservation can genuinely make a big difference. Brazilians love music and art and by bringing these together with conservation, we were able to inspire more people to take action.
We are looking forward now to continuing this beautiful story to protect the Amazon (and its own harmonies!), which is undoubtedly one of the most special places on Earth.
Rodrigo is Re:wild's senior Brazil associate. He is a global leader in the field of sustainable development, climate change, policy and environmental governance having worked extensively in conservation projects in Brazil, Africa and Latin America.